Crowds gather to pay late councillor respect

Colin Mackey at a bulb planting event in Emsworth in 2010
Colin Mackey at a bulb planting event in Emsworth in 2010
(Back, l-r) Nurses Linda Page and Laura Cleverley and doctors Becca Allan and Anne Hounsell, with (front, l-r) chaplain Carol Gully, doctor Katie Jerram and nurse Mellissa Bell             Picture: Vernon Nash

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MORE THAN 250 people filled a packed-out church in Emsworth to bid farewell to a much-loved and respected councillor and community stalwart.

Colin Mackey, who represented Emsworth on Havant Borough Council, died aged 68 last month after suffering a heart attack.

His friends, family members and colleagues yesterday visited St James’ Church to pay their respects to the father-of-three, who was also a solicitor specialising in family matters.

Among the guests were two of Cllr Mackey’s longest serving friends – retired Emsworth councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray, who read the Rudyard Kipling poem If–, and David Cornthwaite, a friend made at university.

Mr Cornthwaite said: ‘The apprehension I feel right now is about my ability to pay tribute to a friend who has throughout his life provided love, friendship, and support to so many people.

‘Colin was rich in the admiration and respect of his family, friends, and those who, on an individual community basis, had their lives enhanced by the most wonderful of men.

‘Colin would fight for those who could not fight for themselves, and in passing he has left an indelible mark on the community and its people.

‘The word “no” was never an option for Colin, and he did things not for the kudos, but to get things done. His family including his wife Diana, daughters Victoria, Jane and Emma, and his grandchildren will miss him terribly, and so will I.’

Mr Gibb-Gray said: ‘He was a stalwart of the Emsworth community having served many local organisations including the Tree Wardens and Residents Association over 20 years.

‘He used his first-class legal brain for the benefit of all, particularly those less fortunate and when he became a councillor in 2013 he carried on supporting Emsworth and its people in the corridors of Havant Borough Council.

‘My condolences go to his wife and family, his sudden death has been a terrible loss to Emsworth and our remaining councillors.’

Cllr Mackey worked for Churchers Bolitho Way in Cosham for many years. He was elected as a Conservative councillor in 2013, and worked frequently with the Mayor of Havant, Faith Ponsonby, who also attended the funeral.

She said: ‘I worked with Colin for three years and he made a big impact on the council, he was a real community champion rather than a politician.

‘He was also very loyal, and the nice thing is I will always remember his smile.

‘In a very gentle way he always got his own way, and he did things the right way.’